A battle of Ohio is in store for the Week 8 finale on Monday Night Football when the Cleveland Browns (2-5, 1-3 home) host the Cincinnati Bengals (4-3, 2-2 away) in an AFC North clash. This is the first of two meetings between the divisional rivals this season.
Monday night’s kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. EST inside FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Bengals are a three-point betting favorite, and the over/under total is 45.0 points.
What to Know – Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has back-to-back victories over the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons and are 4-1 over its last five contests after an 0-2 start to the year. The Bengals can stay tied with the Baltimore Ravens atop the AFC North with a victory on Monday.
Joe Burrow has elevated his game recently and is firing on all cylinders under center for the Bengals. The 25-year-old quarterback has thrown for 2,097 yards while completing 68.9% of his passes. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes to five interceptions and added three rushing scores with his legs.
Running back Joe Mixon is the team’s workhorse in the running game. He has carried the ball 121 times for 405 yards, accounting for nearly 2/3rds of Cincinnati’s rushing stats. Mixon is averaging 3.3 yards per carry and has found the endzone two times rushing and one time through the air.
Cincinnati will be without leading wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase for the next month or so. With Chase out, Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins become even more important pieces to the offense. Both Boyd and Higgins have 455 receiving yards apiece.
What to Know – Cleveland Browns
The Browns have had a rough October and will look to close it out on a high note on Monday. Cleveland has lost its last four contests and fallen to the bottom of the divisional standings after a 2-1 start.
Starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett continues to lead Cleveland while Deshaun Watson remains suspended. Brissett has had an up-and-down year, throwing six touchdowns while also tossing five interceptions. He has completed 146-of-233 passes for 1,584 yards.
Cleveland relies on its ground game, and the rushing attack has been effective this season. Nick Chubb is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, while backup Kareem Hunt adds 4.0 ypc. Chubb has 740 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns.
Former Alabama star Amari Cooper is Brissett’s favorite target in the passing game. Cooper leads the team with 34 receptions for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end David Njoku is on his way to his best season statistically, adding 418 yards and one score.
The Pick is In
The Browns defeated the Bengals twice last year before Cincinnati put together its run to the Super Bowl. Cleveland will take advantage defensively of the loss of Chase and Cincinnati’s offensive line woes, keeping this one close til the end on its home field.
The Pick: Cleveland Browns +3.5